Two weeks ago we shared some original research we did to answer the classic multifamily question: What is the best time to post on Craigslist?
To compile the data, we used a fairly complex process in Google Analytics that allowed us to collect data from the past 90 days. With this data, we could see traffic by hour for every day of the week.
The advantage to this approach is that it allowed us to see how hourly traffic on a Monday compared to hourly traffic on a Friday and to make suggestions based on that data. The disadvantage was that we only had 90 days of data.
Then alert reader Max Rockbin suggested a different way to gather the data that we could use to see data going back much further. We detailed that method last week so that you could generate the report for your own community website.
The downside to this approach is that there isn't an easy way of getting at the daily data so that we can compare a Monday to a Wednesday. The positive is that it is very easy to build and allows you to see data from a much wider range of dates, which will probably give you a fuller picture of what's happening than the comparatively narrow 90 day data set the other method offers. So today we're doing a follow-up post to our first post using this new methodology.
The main thing to note is that some of the spikes and dips we saw in the smaller data set smooth out when we get a broader data set. (For our purposes, we tracked Craigslist referrals for a sample of our clients over a three year period.)
That said, what did stay consistent is that traffic tends to peak around lunch time before gradually dropping off as the work day winds down and rush hour begins. It then jumps up slightly after dinner between 6pm and 9pm, although it never quite hits the lunchtime levels.
This means that the hypotheticals we sketched out in our previous post probably still hold up: People tend not to get on Craigslist first thing in the morning, but wait until late morning or lunch time. They then stay somewhat active--though at a diminishing rate--for the remainder of the work day with the low point coming between 5pm and 6pm. Traffic then briefly spikes between 6 and 9 before trailing off for the rest of the night. Overall, the best hours of the day are 11am to 5pm and then 7pm to 8pm.
The main thing to keep in mind is that this data needs to be set next to the data cited in our post from two weeks ago. They go together because the other post gives day-by-day data that will allow apartment marketers to see what days are best for posting and what days tend to lag a little. This can be really valuable data if, for example, there's one floorplan you're really wanting to push. Obviously you still need to follow the rules and only post that floorplan once every 48 hours--but if you can post it on Monday-Wednesday that will be more effective than Tuesday-Thursday according to our old data.
What this new data does is fill out the picture a bit by giving us years worth of data to go on rather than three months. When we use this longer view, we can see that the numbers hold a bit more steady throughout the business day, although the basic interpretation we offered earlier is still sound.
The other thing that makes this report valuable is that this one is much easier to create, as we showed in a post last week. So if you're wanting to do research for your own community, you can gather this data very quickly and without much fuss.
If you have any questions, comments, or have seen different results with your own posting, we'd love to hear about that in the comments. Thanks for reading!